Scottish Premiership
KilmarnockKilmarnock1HamiltonHamilton Academical0

Kilmarnock 1-0 Hamilton Academical

By Keir MurrayBBC Scotland

Alexei Eremenko thundered home a last-gasp free-kick to snatch a home win for Kilmarnock over high-flying Hamilton.

A stalemate had looked inevitable as Killie keeper Craig Samson had kept out Accies' long-range shots at goal and the home side rarely threatened.

Accies' Darian MacKinnon headed over Samson's crossbar in a late attack.

But when Jamie Hamill was brought down by Michael Devlin deep in injury time, substitute Eremenko smacked in the set-piece from 20 yards to win the game.

The victory ended a poor run for Allan Johnston's men. They had lost seven and drawn one in all competitions since an away league win over St Johnstone in mid-October.

With Hamilton's play dictated by player-manager Alex Neil, they soon had their passing game on show on the artificial surface at Rugby Park.

They were soon creating chances, with Mickael Antoine-Curier failing to score as a result of a wayward header.

Hamilton player-manager Alex Neil
Hamilton player-manager Alex Neil replaced himself with Jon Routledge for the last 20 minutes at Rugby Park

Neil can often be found issuing instructions and reprimands when on the pitch - but after being robbed of possession, he was grateful to goalkeeper Michael McGovern for blocking Rory McKenzie's hurried shot from the edge of the box.

Both line-ups had a healthy representation of graduates from their youth ranks on display. One of those in red and white, Ali Crawford, was heavily involved in much of Accies' creative play and he tested Killie keeper Samson twice in the first quarter of the match.

Killie were slow to get going and had to survive a Tony Andreu long-range shot and two scares provided by Dougie Imrie - who a penalty claim rejected after he was challenged by Chris Chantler and then shot over the bar by Imrie.

But the home side began to threaten, and McKenzie's 34th-minute cut-back from the right went just behind Robbie Muirhead, who was denied the chance to sweep the ball home with the goal gaping.

And Hamill gave the home fans in the 3,900 crowd hope when he powered a header at goal, but McGovern was well placed.

The teams were evenly matched after the break and the chances became scarcer.

McGovern smothered a Muirhead drive and then - as the action swept to the other end - Crawford had a shot deflected for a corner, from which Josh Magennis leapt to nod an Accies headed effort off the goal-line.

Then with 10 minutes left, a glorious opportunity fell to Hamilton midfielder MacKinnon, who headed an in-swinging Crawford corner over the bar from six yards.

As the match petered out towards what looked like being a repeat of September's 0-0 draw at New Douglas Park, Johnston and Neil made three changes apiece.

In Eremenko's 13 minutes of play, he pinged a lovely cross deep in to the box for Josh Magennis, who brought the ball down on his toe but could not finish.

And the Finn scored with almost the last kick of the ball to deny Accies second spot in the Premiership.

Kilmarnock's Chris Chantler battles for the ball with Dougie Imrie
Kilmarnock's Chris Chantler battles for the ball with Dougie Imrie
Alexei Eremenko crashes a free-kick over the Hamilton wall to clinch the three points
Alexei Eremenko crashes a free-kick over the Hamilton wall to clinch the three points

Line-ups

Kilmarnock

  • 1Samson
  • 2Barbour
  • 18Ashcroft
  • 6Connolly
  • 23ChantlerSubstituted forO'Haraat 85'minutes
  • 7McKenzie
  • 4Hamill
  • 19Slater
  • 28Magennis
  • 33MuirheadSubstituted forJohnstonat 70'minutes
  • 9MillerSubstituted forEremenkoat 77'minutesBooked at 90mins

Substitutes

  • 10Johnston
  • 11Cairney
  • 13Brennan
  • 20Eremenko
  • 26O'Hara
  • 29Pascali
  • 37Splaine

Hamilton

  • 1McGovern
  • 6Gillespie
  • 5Canning
  • 4DevlinBooked at 90mins
  • 3Hendrie
  • 7Imrie
  • 10NeilSubstituted forRoutledgeat 70'minutes
  • 18MacKinnon
  • 11Crawford
  • 22AndreuSubstituted forLongridgeat 79'minutes
  • 99Antoine-CurierSubstituted forScotlandat 73'minutes

Substitutes

  • 8Routledge
  • 9Scotland
  • 17Longridge
  • 20Brophy
  • 24Tena
  • 28Redmond
  • 29Hill
Referee:
Craig Thomson
Attendance:
3,921

Match Stats

Home TeamKilmarnockAway TeamHamilton
Possession
Home47%
Away53%
Shots
Home10
Away15
Shots on Target
Home8
Away7
Corners
Home3
Away7
Fouls
Home11
Away13

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Kilmarnock 1, Hamilton Academical 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Kilmarnock 1, Hamilton Academical 0.

  3. Booking

    Alexei Eremenko (Kilmarnock) is shown the yellow card.

  4. Goal!

    Goal! Kilmarnock 1, Hamilton Academical 0. Alexei Eremenko (Kilmarnock) from a free kick with a left footed shot to the top right corner.

  5. Booking

    Michael Devlin (Hamilton Academical) is shown the yellow card.

  6. Post update

    Jamie Hamill (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Michael Devlin (Hamilton Academical).

  8. Post update

    Foul by Lee Ashcroft (Kilmarnock).

  9. Post update

    Jason Scotland (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  10. Post update

    Attempt saved. Lee Ashcroft (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

  11. Post update

    Josh Magennis (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Martin Canning (Hamilton Academical).

  13. Post update

    Mark Connolly (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Dougie Imrie (Hamilton Academical).

  15. Post update

    Jamie Hamill (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Darian MacKinnon (Hamilton Academical).

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Kilmarnock. Mark O'Hara replaces Chris Chantler.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Chris Johnston (Kilmarnock).

  19. Post update

    Dougie Imrie (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  20. Post update

    Chris Johnston (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

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